MONTEREY WEEKLY: A behind the scenes look at Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2019 season

by Walter Ryce
published April 18, 2019 by Monterey County Weekly


Mike Ryan, artistic director of Santa Cruz Shakespeare, is coming to Pacific Grove Public Library to drum up excitement for their 2019 season. He’ll do so partly by revealing how the company puts together a season.

They do two Shakespeare plays each season and one work by another playwright, in the outdoor venue The Grove in Santa Cruz. Ryan says there are about eight Shakespeare comedies and the theater company rotates through them: “If people see just one show, they’re going to see the Shakespeare comedy.”

Then he looks to see which tragedy or history play he wants to pair it with. This season they’re doing The Comedy of Errors and The Winter’s Tale, the latter of which they haven’t done in 14 years. He saw a theme in both, redemption and rebuilding family, and found a non-Shakespeare play to match it, Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Taha Mandviwala and Mike Ryan in Romeo & Juliet from the 2018 season.


Next he looks at numbers. He gets 17 actors to work with and has to divide them up over three plays, getting everyone into at least two of them.

“Winter’s Tale has the full cast. Comedy of Errors is easy to do with a cast of nine. That left me eight [actors].”

Pride and Prejudice can be done with eight actors.

Ryan says Shakespeare can take a while for your ear to adjust to, which requires a little patience, Ryan says: “But after 10 minutes your brain switches over so it becomes understandable.”

Tickets to the plays are $50, but the first two previews of each show is pay-what-you-want: “If you have $2 in your pocket, that’s what you pay.”

MIKE RYAN speaks 7:30pm Thursday, April 18, at Pacific Grove Public Library, 550 Central Ave., Pacific Grove. $10 suggested donation. 786-9225.


Link to Monterey Weekly County article HERE


Tickets for the Santa Cruz Shakespeare festival on May 15 to the general public and May 1 for SCS member pre-sale

Ticket Info HERE

Membership info. HERE